MARCH 25. LENT. THE ANNUNCIATION. LK. 1. 26-38
The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.
One of the greatest celebrations of the Church year where Almighty God asks a humble virgin to become the Mother of his Divine Son, and where the eternal fate of humanity depends on her response.
Fortunately God in his wisdom had preserved Mary from the effects of original sin, so his plans and designs for her were determined by God prior to her conception.
This is an important truth we can easily overlook in our own lives, namely, how God also determined the circumstances of our lives before we are born.
This is such an obvious truth as it embraces so many divine decisions over which we have absolutely no control, such as when we are born, where we are born, who are parents are, and numerous other factors in our future lives.
But one we must never forget is that Gods decisions about our circumstances are always determined by Love, and this should provide us with great comfort.
Too much of our time and energy are devoted to complaining about our trials and difficulties but this would not be the case if we remained alert to the truth that God is the one who determines the circumstances of our lives, and nothing can happen to us that he has not allowed.
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” is a truth that should give us great comfort!
Mary, was very aware of this truth as she had great confidence in God’s Love and concern for her, and this was reflected in her reply to the angel when she called herself “the handmaid of the Lord”; - which indicates she saw herself having obligations towards her Creator.
Closely related to this truth is the fact that God’s plan for Mary was not only that she would be the Mother of his Son, but she was also to be a Mother to all of God’s People.
This is a truth that should also give us great confidence, that a fellow human being; - who was preserved by God from sin; - has also been given to us to be our own heavenly mother; - and who we can turn to at any time for help and guidance in our pilgrimage of earthly life.